Why We ♥ America’s Public Lands


From white sand seashores and rugged mountains to ancient cliff dwellings and forests of towering trees, America’s public lands give us so much. Now it’s your chance to give America’s public lands something in return.

On the fourth Saturday of September each year, you can join volunteers of all ages by lending a helping hand to spruce up public lands. National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Thank a park today for all they give us by volunteering at your favorite public land.

To inspire you to get out there and give back, here’s some of our favorite things about America’s public lands:

Epic views that leave you breathless

Whether you’re hiking to the top of a mountain or hopping out of your car at a scenic overlook, the views from America’s public lands can’t be beat. When you consider the sheer size and scale of these vistas, it’s sure to leave you stunned.

snow-covered mountains with green forests
Sunrise View of Mount Adams from Mount Rainier. It's one of many views in Washington's Mountain Rainier National Park that'll stop you in your tracks. Photo by Rip Rippey (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Spotting wildlife in their natural habitats

Public lands aren’t just for humans. They protect ecosystems that are important for the survival of wildlife, ensuring that current and future generations can see animals in their natural habitats -- from a safe distance, of course.

fox peeks around a rock as another fox on the rock looks into the distance
Peek-a-boo! Two cute red foxes play a game of hide and seek at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve in Alaska. Which fox are you? Photo by National Park Service.

Creating a lifetime of memories

It’s the first time your parents took you camping. It’s the hike you shared with someone special. It’s the lake where you met lifelong friends. Public lands are the basis of so many extraordinary moments that last a lifetime, and you never know who you’ll meet while you’re there. Start exploring today to make some unforgettable memories.

sky full of stars with two people silhouetted
Park rangers enjoy the glittering night sky over Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. Photo courtesy of Kevin and Amanda Sweeney.

Finding new adventures (on a budget)

Ever want to gaze at the Milky Way sparkling overhead or summit a 14,000-foot peak or paddle through clear-blue waters? Public lands give you a chance to try something new. With many national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands near urban areas offering free programs, these new adventures don’t even have to break the bank.

a hiker walks through tall canyon walls
A hiker walks through the tall slot canyons of Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and Wilderness – located in both southern Utah and northern Arizona. Because of the fragility and popularity of the area, use permits are required. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

Honoring our nation’s history

Our public lands are living, breathing history books, preserving millions of years of our natural and cultural past. Visiting national monuments, historic sites and other public lands can open your eyes to things like dinosaur fossils and petroglyphs; the fight for freedom and independence; and the march toward equality.

Cherry blossoms ring the water with a towering structure in the background.
Sunrise from the Tidal Basin with the Washington Monument in the background as the cherry blossoms reach their peak. Photo by Jeff Norman (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Getting active

Connecting to nature and the outdoors can help you create a healthy, active lifestyle with opportunities for hiking, biking and boating to name a few. Breathe in fresh air, feel the warm sun on your face and the breeze drying the sweat on your skin -- it’ll revitalize your mind and body!

a man marvels at the view of a mountain reflected in a lake
A park visitor stops to marvel at the sunrise over Swiftcurrent Lake on the way to hike to Grinnell Glacier at Montana's Glacier National Park. Photo by Jenna Winkeller (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Moments of zen

Need to get away from the daily grind? Break free from the everyday with America’s public lands. Whether hitting the trail or marveling at a stunning photo of a park on your computer screen, public lands are a great way pause for a moment of zen.

light streams through a tree in a field of yellow flowers
A brilliant summer sun rises over Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, shining golden light through the limbs of an old burl oak and burning away the morning fog. Photo by Erik Fremstad (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Show your thanks to public lands by volunteering to help keep a public land near you beautiful.